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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BITING ARTHROPODS: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit

Title: Quantifying impact of mosquitoes on quality of life

Authors
item Shepard, Donald -
item Halasa, Yara -
item Wittenberg, Eve -
item Fonseca, Dina -
item Farajollahi, Ary -
item Healy, Sean -
item Bartlett-Healy, Kristen -
item Strickman, Daniel
item Clark, Gary

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 18, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: New Jersey, like many eastern states, has a persistent problem of the Asian tiger mosquito. This and other mosquitoes reduce residents’ quality of life from discomfort and possible risk of disease. To guide a comprehensive area-wide pest management project to control Aedes albopictus in two counties in New Jersey, we quantified the impact of mosquitoes on residents' quality of life. We interviewed residents of 121 randomly selected households in October and November 2010. We asked residents about their experience with mosquitoes in their neighborhood, the importance of mosquito control compared to other public services (1=not important, 5=extremely important), and rated residents' utility based on paired comparisons to known health states on the EuroQol scale from 0 (death) to 1 (perfect health). The majority (54.6%) of respondents considered mosquitoes to be a problem, rating its severity as moderate (30.6%) or severe (12.4%%) or extremely horrible (11.6%). Respondents reported an average (±SD) of 7.1±4.0 mosquito bites in a typical summer week. Mosquitoes prevented 59.5% of residents from enjoying their outdoor activities at least to some extent. Residents rated their current mosquito experience on a scale of 100 (no mosquitoes) to 0 (mosquitoes invasion) at 56.7±28.7, and their overall utility at 0.87±0.03—comparable to being moderately anxious or depressed. Respondents rated the importance of enjoying porch and yard outdoors activities without mosquitoes (4.7±0.8) equal to that of neighborhood safety and higher than that a clean neighborhood (4.6±0.9). In conclusion, these New Jersey residents report a 0.13 decrement in utility due to mosquitoes, possibly comparable to the decrement associated with depression, and rate mosquito control as an extremely important element of public service.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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